Guam to build $589 million power plant to comply with regulations

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The Guam Power Authority is planning to build a $589 million power generator from scratch.

The Pacific Daily News reported Wednesday that the power authority plans to stop using its existing oil-burning power plants to comply with environmental regulations.

The new power plant will be built to run on both liquefied natural gas and clean diesel. It will be cooled using treated wastewater.

The plant is expected to provide more than three-quarters of the island's power needs by 2020.

The authority and the Consolidated Commission on Utilities face pressure to move forward with the plan, which faces permitting, rate, environmental and land-use regulatory reviews.

The next step is for the Guam Power Authority to make a case before the Public Utilities Commission that the rates will be good for taxpayers.

If the authority doesn't make changes to meet federal regulations, it could face fines of up to $109 million per year, officials at the authority said.

Carl Peterson, a certified financial planner and owner of Money Resources Inc., said that a number of government projects have had a history of exceeding their budgets, and the taxpayers ended up paying more than planned. "I am very apprehensive about the final cost," Peterson said.

Other critics said they were concerned about the plan's reliance on liquefied natural gas.

"I think the biggest issue is that we should be focusing first on (renewable energy alternatives)" like solar and wind, said John Peterson, interim director of the Center for Island Sustainability at the University of Guam.

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